Continuing on with the first year of the Smallmouth Newsletters, today we’re talking about Volume I Issue 11, published for November, 1985. This issue starts out with a great piece by the late Billy Westmorland on how to catch smallies in November. As usual, Westmorland gives some great advice on the techniques he uses for late fall/early winter smallmouths – but it seems a little dated for today’s standards. Yes, smallmouths will always be caught on small baits but that myth has been over-shadowed in the last 10 years as anglers move to bigger and bigger baits for smallies – including swimbaits. Still this opening piece offers a lot of great suggestions with respect to fish movement and areas to look for.
In my opinion, the best piece in the 6-page newsletter is on the second page – titled, “The Ultimate Trip!” In this piece Frank Brooks (author) talks about a “trip of a lifetime” by J. C. Reel and partner on Watts Bar. That one perfect day, on October 30, 1984, yielded seven fish that pushed the scales past 36 pounds with 6-08 and 8-04 fish topping the stringer. It’s a great story to read, even by today’s standards, and also sheds some light on how the anglers caught the fish – a method that’s not talked about much these days. If you like fish stories and are interested in digging up old techniques, this article is meant for you.
Page 3 of this 6-page newsletter has a piece authored by Zebco on catch and release, in keeping with their conservation motif, to fill that page. Page 4 continues with a conservation theme, followed by a winter weather clothing article. It’s really interesting to look back at the cold-weather gear of yesteryear and compare it to today’s hi-tech clothing.
The fifth page of the newsletter has a piece by Jeff Howard on northern tier smallie fishing in the fall, a piece by Bob Gooch on fishing smallmouths in Hawaii and a couple of other small filler pieces.
The last page really brought some memories back with a short promotional piece on the Kwik Kick. Any of you serious angler who fished the 80s know what I’m talking about – that arm you’d attach your trolling motor pedal to that would allow you to move it from port to stern with just a kick of the foot. Remember, these were the days when you didn’t mount your trolling motor to the deck of the boat but left it free so you could move it to whatever side you were fishing off of. Problem with that was without the foot pedal being mounted, it had a tendency to break things if you ran into rough water. The Kwik Kick promised to solve that conundrum.
The final part of the last page was dedicated to Letters to the Editor – of which all of them were asking Tom Rodgers to sign them up for the Smallmouth Newsletter – and fast.
As with all the other issues to date, this newsletter is definitely worth the read for anyone interested in smallie fishing or the history of the sport. Below we’ve published all pages for you to read and look back into the past. We hope you enjoy it.
[Editor’s note: We’d like to thank Mark Blahut for the use of his personal collect of there first issue of Smallmouth Newsletter. without supporters like Mark, we wouldn’t be able to share these rare newsletters so everyone can see how it was done 20, 30 or even many more years ago. Mark, we thank you]